Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

I was emailing with my friend Lillie the other day about how our holidays went, and I told her that I couldn’t believe how far we have both come and how much has happened to us in the last year. In January, when I was still living in NY, we went to Borders together after going to the gym. Waiting in a massive line to buy our discounted calendars, we were talking about how Christmas 2009 went (horrible) and how our families were (in shambles). Almost a year later, with lots of ups and downs for both of us, we’re in pretty good places in our lives. I’ll let her handle her end of things, but here is a little review of 2010 for me, in no particular order:

1. I trained for two half marathons, and ran one. The reason I signed up for the races is because I really hate running – at least I thought I did. It turns out, that once I’m past four miles; I enjoy it. The fact that I have to get to four to feel that way is sort of terrible though. Anyway, I ran the race and completed all my goals: don’t die, finish in under three hours and don’t have to pee in the woods. 2010: The Year of “I’ll Take the Physical Challenge”.
2. I went to Costa Rica with two of my best friends. We explored the rain forest, stayed at a luxury resort, met the dumbest nature guide in the world, got drunk before 9 am and laughed a ton. 2010: The Year of Exploration.
3. I moved from New York City to Boston. I never really wanted to move to New York in the first place, but moved for love. That didn’t work out, but I fell in love with a lot of amazing people there. I miss my New York friends SO much it hurts, but we’re fortunate to be pretty close to each other. Luckily, I’ve been able to have 1-2 visitors a month since moving up here. I know I made the right decision to move, and I’ve been so lucky to have made a lot of new friends and also reconnect with old friends. 2010: The Year of Changed Addresses.
4. I’ve come to terms with how I look. Like most people, I grew up with a mom who was very critical of her looks in front of me. This developed a lot of unhealthy habits when I was younger, but now when I look in the mirror I don’t see a horror show. I see someone who is actually kind of cute, and sometimes pretty. I’m also more confident about my body, too. Of course I can always find the parts that should be thinner and all that noise, but I’m OK with how I look … finally. I’m trying not to get wrapped up in being annoyed at myself for all that time wasted thinking I was a big, fat mess and just focus on the positive: my traffic jam booty and my cupcakes. 2010: The Year of Vanity.
5. I put myself “out there” as far as dating goes. This year I’ve gone on more dates than ever. While nothing has really panned out, I’m proud of myself for at least trying. I’ve been (mostly) single for the last three years, but I’ve met a lot of different types of guys – some crazy and others crazier. 2010: The Year of Dating.
6. I had a fling with a hot “teen” model/stand-up comedian. He was really 24, but same difference, and he thought I was gorgeous and hilarious. 2010: The Year of Holy Crap, You’re So Hot, Wait, Those Are Considered Washboard Abs, Right, and You Want to Make Out with Me?!
7. I was a vegan for three hours. 2010: The Year of Bacon.
8. I’ve already detailed out stuff about my dad on here, so let’s move on, but it’s been a long year for me emotionally. I’m not the best at talking about my feelings; I’m better at listening to other people’s problems. This year I’ve gotten much, much better at talking about things of substance. In fact, I talked for about 10 minutes straight about my feelings a few months ago. It was incredible. 2010: The Year of Feelings About Feelings.
9. I went camping with some of my best friends in Boston. We slept in tents, on the ground, in 40 degree weather. We ate so many meals that we had to come up with new names for them (Breakfast, B’Breakfast, Brunch, B’Brunch and “Uhhhhh”). We wrapped everything in bacon and put it in an iron skillet and then put it in our mouths. 2010: The Year of (More) Bacon.

A lot more happened, but that’s the highlight reel. I’m not really sure what’s on deck for 2011, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully not putting too much pressure on it to perform. I do at least know one song that will be on next year’s soundtrack. This is the anthem, put your damn hands up:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Had Myself A Merry Little Christmas

Words have yet to be invented to accurately describe how terrible Christmas was last year, and this year has kindly steamrolled that further away from my memory. I had SUCH a pleasant holiday.
I flew down to my brother's house in Texas last Tuesday, and we hung out in Houston to wait for my sister's flight to get in a few hours later. I was nervous to see her because over the last few years we have not gotten along at all. It's frustrating to look at someone who has the same face and voice as me, yet couldn't be more different.
She recently started working her first job, and I think it's starting to change her for the better. We did not fight once over the break, and actually enjoyed each other's company.
As a family, we went to the movies twice (it's $4 to see a movie in Texas - amazing!) and saw Black Swan and True Grit - both highly recommended. During True Grit, a man was sitting in front of me chewing and spitting tobacco. How very Wild West of him!
We also went wine tasting and glow-in-the-dark mini putting where I got THREE holes in one! Speaking of "That's What She Said", I taught my mom what that means over the break, too. When we were waiting for True Grit to start she noticed that my wallet was sticking out of my purse and asked, "Do you want me to help you put it in?" I started laughing, and asked my brother if it was OK if I said TWSS to my mom. I explained to her what it meant, and she tried to start using it, but she's still learning. Even during Christmas Eve dinner, she pointed at the roast beef and said to my sister, "Go ahead and lay some of that beef on here." My brother and I started laughing hysterically, but she's still a little slow with it. It'll be nice to chart her perverse progress.
We do all our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day we just hung out and I cooked our big dinner. I made a southern meal with a delicious turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, collared greens, cornbread stuffing and, for good luck in 2011, some black-eyed peas. It was delicious! Later, I made my own turkey stock for the first time, and it turned out pretty well, too.
On a serious note: there was obviously a hole in the family with my dad not being there, but he's chosen to pull away. We haven't really talked in a year, and I obviously want him to start a new life for himself, but it's out of our hands.
There's no easy way to transition out of that seriousness, except for three words: Indoor Gun Range.
Texas is a really interesting place. I can't think of another state that has as much pride and guns as they do. There is an indoor shooting range next to their Starbucks, in case you need to blow off some steam after getting overly-caffeinated. Also, the whole town shut down on Christmas. My brother and I drove around that morning just looking at how deserted it was. Everything was closed, except liquor stores and churches, of course.
I came back on Sunday evening, surprisingly. The East Coast was slammed by a blizzard, and my flight was the last one being let into Logan Airport. The landing was the scariest I've ever experienced, but the cab ride home was worse. I gave the driver a $10 tip for not killing me.
Thankfully, yesterday my office was closed, too. I got a bonus vacation day and hung out with some friends in my neighborhood.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely, stress-free holiday. It's been an interesting year for me, to say the least, and 2011 has a LOT of pressure on it to perform. Let's just hope those 5 black-eyed peas I managed to eat do the trick.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And By Cupcakes, I mean ...

As I mentioned below, my friends and I have a few different "catch phrases" we like to use on a regular basis to talk about feelings. My favorite is "And by cupcakes, I mean ..."
This summer I went to a Patriots Game with a friend of mine. We spent all afternoon tailgating and hanging out with her brother and his friends in the parking lot, waiting for her cousin to get there. Her brother's friends were terrible. (People are terrible.) One of them even made a bet for $50 with my friend that he could sleep with me within two months time. Classy. Spoiler alert: I did not sleep with him. I wasn't expecting much from her cousin when he finally arrived, but he was really pleasant, into beer, funny and a ginger. I love a ginger.
At the end of the night, we exchanged phone numbers and planned to hang out soon. We started texting a lot, sometimes for a few hours. I actually really don't like having text or phone relationships. I'd rather spend time in person, but the texting continued. He decided he was going to come to my birthday party and I said, "Great! There will be cupcakes there!" He took that and ran with it. He mentioned cupcakes every time we texted, through thinly-veiled innuendo.
One night, after drinking for a few hours (IMPORTANT DETAIL), my friends and I ended up out in Allston - where the dirty hipsters live in Boston. He also lives out there. So, my friends and I ate our second dinner of the night (I actually had to look at the menu online the next day to remember what I ate. Oof.) and I started texting him. Once again, he brought up the cupcakes. "Will there be cupcakes? :)"
At this point, I was so sick of the back and forth flirtiness, I responded with, "Yes, there will be. And by cupcakes, I mean boobs."
Surprisingly, I never heard from him again.

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Snow/Ugly Work Parking Lot

I'm on Shag Highway Heading West!

Tomorrow I leave for Texas to spend the deargoddon'tbeterrible holidays with my family. It's the first Christmas that my dad will not be in attendance, so we've decreased our chances of family combustion by a little bit. And, to make sure the holidays start off even more out of the red, I'm going to my friend Sarah's house tonight to watch the best holiday movie: Love Actually. We're also going to eat curries to make us feel more British, too. Merry Christmas!

More Gifting Suggestions From Mom

After my mom told me she wanted to "smell like Sarah" for Christmas, I didn't think she could top any gifting suggestions ... until I asked her what my brother might want.
She said, "Well ... your brother and I were talking the other night, and I asked him who he thinks is attractive in Hollywood. And, without missing a beat, your brother said, 'Keira Knightly'."
My brother confirmed this strange conversation when I talked to him on Saturday.
My mom goes on to say, "Lauren, you know things about the Internet."
To which I replied, "..." Sideways glance.
"Wouldn't it be great if you could find a signed picture of Keira Knightly for your brother for Christmas?" she asked.

So, now I only have a few days left to figure out how to use, and hope my 30-year-old college professor, PhD brother still has room on his office wall for a signed picture from his girl Keira.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Four Loko is SO October 2010

A few weeks ago, some girlfriends and I went to Newport, RI for all of their Christmas celebrations. It was so fucking quaint.
Santa arrived via boat, we saw a tree lighting, there was caroling and wassail.
We also took a tour of a old mansion set up to reflect what a Christmas Eve would look like in the 1820s. During the tour, we learned about an Old Timey (amazing) drink called Artillery Punch. Tonight, friends, I'm going to a party where it's being served. Brace yourselves for the ingredient list:
Black tea, whiskey, red wine, rum, brandy, herbal liqueur, orange juice and lemon juice.

Goodbye and I love you all.

Catch Phrase Hat Trick

My friends and I use a battery of catch phrases to sum up how we're feeling sometimes. Here they are:
- Feelings about feelings (To be used when you're emotional or feeling feelings about feelings)
- Flames ... on the side of my face (Extreme rage)
- PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE (self explanatory and so, so true)
- Don't show the crazy (priceless advice, mostly applied to dating)
- WHAT? OK!! (a la The Chappelle Show's Lil' John sketch. Still relevant after all these years)
- And by cupcakes, I mean ... (this one needs more explanation, but for another day)
- SO WHAT. WHO CARES? (besides Jason Sudeikis' dancing on What Up With That?, Fred Armisen's Joy Behar impression is the only funny thing on that show)
- That's what she said (also self explanatory/still relevant)

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt ALL of our catch phrases, except for "That's what she said". It's too bad it wasn't a perfect hat trick of phrases because yesterday was exhausting and confusing. Luckily, the tides turned in the evening and I was left very satisfied with a cherry on top. Wait a minute - yes! - THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mommie Creepiest

I just had a brief phone conversation with my mom about Christmas gifts. She wanted to know what I want, so I told her the only thing I really want is Jay-Z's new autobiography. She doesn't know who that is and she hates hip-hop music*, so I can only imagine what she wrote down to remind her of what I actually want. Does J.C. Chasez have an autobiography yet? I'll probably get that.
Then, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and without missing a beat she said, "I want to smell like Sarah." Creeeeeeepy. Sarah is one of my best friends and she used to work at Lush, and truthfully does always smell delicious. My mom first sniffed her when she visited earlier this fall and told Sarah and me privately many - MANY - times how intoxicating she smells. My mom sure is creepy.

* She took away my cassette of the Dangerous Minds soundtrack from me when I was younger. I cried. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but she was saving me from myself and from Coolio, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Business Time

As I've mentioned before, I work for a small book publisher. One of my goals here is to expand the markets their books are sold into, and one of those markets is sex stores. There are a few titles in the catalogs that are a great fit, and more coming out this spring. In fact, my boss called me yesterday to let me know that he has a box of sex toys for me to look at when I get a chance.
Just the type of phone call I love to get in the workplace!
This is all very blush-worthy trying to have a straight-faced conversation with my boss about these products. And, I just had write an email to a customer that included both the phrases, "Happy belated Thanksgiving!" and "... fluffy handcuffs, velvet restraint, and blindfold".
It turns out it IS a dirty job, and I'm the one who has to do it. Heh, "do it".